Before the Container Park, before Tony Hsieh moved his Zappos.com headquarters into downtown Las Vegas, Chris LaPorte planted his flag on east Fremont Street.
In 2011, LaPorte opened Insert Coins.
Insert Coins is a video-game arcade that doubles as a nightclub. It offered videogamers the chance to play old-school style video games such as Tron, Pac-Man and Galaga, but also console games such as Mortal Kombat and Madden NFL.
The venture was so successful, people would line up to get inside. About a year after Insert Coins opened, a second Insert Coins opened in Minneapolis.
So it came with some surprise when people learned last week that Insert Coins had closed.
Owner Chris LaPorte told KNPR’s State of Nevada that he plans to re-open.
But, he added, there were several factors that led to the closure, including the the flood of businesses brought by Hsieh’s Downtown Project.
"We weren't quite prepared for all the competition out there," LaPorte said.
He said competition arrived quickly, making it difficult to adjust.
"I hold myself accountable for not making these changes to go with this growth that was happening at an exponential rate," LaPorte also said.
He also believes there is a concentrated effort to change the feeling of downtown. He points to the city of Las Vegas' crack down on people carrying open containers of alcohol on Fremont Street as an example.
"The business didn't change but the rules did," LaPorte said.
And while LaPorte likes the general idea of improving downtown Las Vegas, especially areas that had been deserted by businesses for years, changing the area will take more than one man with millions of dollars.
"Community, as in Las Vegas as a whole -- Clark County, Henderson, Summerlin -- everybody has to see the value in coming to downtown Las Vegas," LaPorte said.
LaPorte emphasized that his barcade is only closed temporarily, but did not say when or where it would be reopened.
Chris LaPorte, owner, Insert Coins
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